WRCB has placed itself in the conversation about gay marriage by not placing itself in the conversation about gay marriage.
The Chattanooga NBC affiliate announced Friday it would not air a commercial produced by an organization that promotes marriage equality, called Freedom to Marry, in order to stay neutral.
“It’s just a very controversial and personal issue, and we just choose to not air a commercial on either side of that debate,” Tom Tolar, president and gm of WRCB, told BuzzFeed.
According to Buzzfeed, Tolar added that the ad crossed the station’s lines. “[P]eople probably have really strong opinions on one side or other of the debate. It’s just an emotional debate for many people.”
FTM’s Marc Solomon told the Knoxville News Sentinel this is the first of dozens of spots his organization has produced to get rejected.
Another spokesperson for FTM told the News Sentinel that there are no plans to run the commercial in Knoxville.
The commercial features Nashville’s Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, a gay Republican Navy veteran who is back in Tennessee after serving in a trauma hospital during a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Ehrenfeld wants to marry his partner, Judd Taback, who is also seen in the commercial.
In the commercial Ehrenfeld says, in part, “As a military physician, I take care of other people’s loved ones who are wounded in combat. But here at home, I’m fighting a different fight. Because I’m gay, I’m not allowed to marry my partner here in Tennessee where we live.”
Tennessee is one of 13 states that still ban same-sex marriages. The state is one of four involved in a ban-related case that the Supreme Court is expected to rule on in June.